04 December 2008
Catholic benefactors teach homeless Russians to write fairy-tales
Moscow, December 4, Interfax - International network of Catholic charitable organizations Caritas realizes unusual program for homeless people.
"When I started working in Caritas, the program helped homeless people only with food, tickets, documents and extended them financial support. Then we opened social consultations. Later when I was in France I watched original work of my colleagues, they developed creative activities in homeless people," Marina Permonova, who heads the program about ten years, says in her interview to the NG-Religii paper.
According to her, the painter-volunteer headed a studio of sculpture, where homeless people mould out of clay. Together with other painter, they made collages. One priest organized an evening club for homeless and invited various guests, famous people and actors. This priest even published a book of literary essays by homeless people.
"I was so impressed that I decided to do something the same in Russia. It was difficult. Attitude to homeless people was controversial. They were not people. We held a series of seminars with state officials and bit by bit they stopped using the word bomzh (the Russian police acronym for Of No Fixed Abode - IF), " Perminova noted.
In frames of her project for homeless, Perminova organizes social receptions, conducts discussions, offering them tests, puzzles, themes for discussions, and even invited a painter who paints with her fingers. She practiced with them for nine months. Then "fairy-tales therapy" was invented: homeless people started writing fairy-tales.
"We have various methods of work: fairy-tales, drawings, collages, comprehension exercises, cinema club," the Caritas representative said.
Three exhibitions of paintings by homeless people were held in Moscow last year.